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Comment: Hrrrrm What is Congress up to (Score 3, Informative) 134 134

The problem is that the Federal Government did not do anything to get arbitration removed by Credit Card issuing banks.

What happened was that the banks used an organization called NAF which was literally funded by the banks. Of course NAF found for the banks 99% of the time. Then the MN Attorney General looking to make a name for herself took NAF to task and NAF folded. That left 2 arbitration forums that were more expensive for the banks and more consumer friendly than NAF.

Some consumers actually read their contract and when they were brought to court for not paying their debts, used the contract against the banks to force the banks into paying 5-figure arbitration fees for 4-figure debts. The court judges in some states started to go along with the consumers. Hence, the banks removed arbitration from their contracts because they could not outright use it to screw over the customer anymore. Of course, the banks have a 98% success rate in court but that is because people do not answer the cases when summoned and even if they do answer, most answer "I cannot afford to pay".

Do a search on credit debt collection boards and you will find what I mean about the above.

So, since congress did not remove the arbitration clauses, why are they saying they did. Are they trying to turn this into something like the Providian case where they OCC entered at the last minute then turned around and said that state AGs cannot take banks to court for violations using that case as a success (again, look up Providian Credit Card Case)? I wonder if they are trying to protect the cell phone companies rather than the consumers.

Comment: Re:Popcorn ready...but who to root for? (Score 3, Interesting) 301 301

Personally I am rooting on Hurd because that will help many of the little people too with these same clauses. I think that if they do not want him working for a set period of time, then then need to pay him for that time based on current salary (same as any other worker whom they do not want to work for the competition). That would make things fair for both sides.

Comment: Re:Defendant's lawyer wins, defendant loses (Score 1) 221 221

This is my question to NYCL. Can a judge modify the order to require the plaintiff to pay for the defendants costs? If not, then the defendant is out the legal costs and this is really no victory what so ever because the RIAA can still use this case as leverage for their extortion scheme (pay us $5000 now or you will pay $20,000 whether you win or lose).

If I were a defendant in this situation, I would fight the motion for dismissal on those grounds.

Comment: Work for a small business instead (Score 1) 262 262

I notice that it is always the large companies that try to do stuff like this, not the smaller companies and businesses. If this concerns you, reevaluate who you work for. May be tough in these economic times but there are still job opportunities for if you look hard enough (and really, smaller businesses to not hire from Newspaper).

Comment: With/Without Prejudice (Score 2, Informative) 230 230

I think the issue now is whether the RIAA can dismiss the case at this point without prejudice. If they can, that will allow them to get out of paying the other party's legal fees but allow them to refile the case in the future. If they cannot, they can be held responsible for the legal fees and cannot refile.

So what I want to know it, what is the point where the judges say "Put up or shut up"? I know in the Oklahoma case (don't have the particulars on hand), the RIAA was forced to accept a dismissal with prejudice because significant discovery had already been done. I wonder in this case, had discovery even commenced or did the RIAA try to get a default judgment based on what they had and once they could not get that, dismiss to avoid discovery and the related issues.

I had also read somewhere in one of the RIAA cases that the judge's decision was based on the fact that the defendant has the right to their day in court too if there is a legal issue to prove their innocence. Will that factor here too?

Comment: Re:Easy Remedy for Those Looking to Avoid (Score 1) 655 655

That is exactly what is going on, although I have to add that most of the politicians are from Downstate NY and most people there thing Upstate means Albany (forget about Syracuse, Watertown, Binghamton, Rochester, and Buffalo).

This biggest way this issue shows up is the issue involving taxing tobacco and gas on Native reservations. Looks like Paterson is going to try again not realizing the mistakes of Cuomo and Pataki. The last time they tried to tax sales on reservations, it lead to quite a bit of blood shed on both sides and embarrassment for the governor. Part of that issue too is that all major transportation arteries in Upstate NY run through an Native reservation of some sort or another.

Glad I left NY years ago. Have no plans to move back.

Comment: Re:Follow the Money (Score 1) 737 737

If it is not about the money than what is it about? All this effort to refute science will not bring about better therapies or even a cure. I do not think more research is being done if scientists are busy trying to defend their work in court or discovery.

Simply put, if scientific treatments were available to children with autism that have been proven to work without cost to the families, if care was available so the rest of the family can do normal things, if care was available for the adults who cannot be self-supporting, would this even be an issue. I think not. But because so much stress is put on the family in both finances and personal issues, people are grasping at any straw they can get at before they go under, even if the straw turns out to be a 500 lb weight.

Yes, right now there are huge issues with snake oil dealers offering their wares to desperate parents. Some of which are downright dangerous. Yes, there are too few trained therapists and the ones that are out there are out of reach in cost except to those in the upper classes. This makes the situation a lot worse than it really ought to be.

I am sorry to say, but in the end, the issue is money. Who is going to pay for this when no one wants to? But should be throw aside science just because it is inconvenient. If that is the case, then all of the planets, moons, and sun should still revolve around the earth which is flat. We really need to take the science at face value and move on because I do not think it does your children, as well as anyone else with an ASD any good to continue to dwell on this subject.

Comment: Follow the Money (Score 3, Insightful) 737 737

The reason why this debate has been and is still going on, even with the evidence to the contrary, is the money trail.

The average cost of therapies for Autism is about $50,000 - $100,000 US per year for at least 2 - 3 years for those who end up being higher functioning and even more for those that are lower functioning. Health Insurance companies refuse to pay the costs calling it a mental health issue (will be interesting to see where mental health parity leads), the schools do not want to pay for it because they do not see it as a medical issue, and for those who never get the ability to survive on their own, the government is not real interested in paying for their care for the rest of their lives. I am sure that in some ways, athasma is in a similar area.

To make the situation worse, there is stress on the whole family. The parents cannot go out together because they cannot find someone to care for their kid. The other kids feel left out. There is the monetary stress. Simply put they want someone to pay.

Who better than a big bad corporation who has deep pockets. So of course, now they are going to be blamed. The lawyers pick it up for the money and the media picks it up because situations like that sell news. Even worse, if there is evidence that proves that this group is wrong, it is either ignored or there is a conspiracy. I remember a couple of months ago where we here on Slashdot where a mother and person with Autism did a blog against the whole MMR causes vaccines argument and was vigorously subpeonaed by a lawyer fighting for anti-vaccine parents. This occurred in the Dow-Corning fight with Silicone Breast implants too.

Add to the fact that in most cases, scientists cannot and will not say for 100% certainty that MMR does not cause Autism. This is because nothing is 100%. If 100 people jump out of a 3rd story window and all die, are you 100% certain that the 101st also will die when the jump out. In fact, the agent which is claimed to cause the issues has been removed from vaccines in many states in the USA and the expected drop in autism has not occurred. That should be enough proof for most people that they are looking up the wrong path.

I do not think this will die however until someone/thing comes up with a system to pay for the treatments of autism and other issues. This is all about the money.


New State Laws Could Make Encryption Widespread 155 155

New laws that took effect in Nevada on Oct. 1 and will kick in on Jan. 1 in Massachusetts may effectively mandate encryption for companies' hard drives, portable devices, and data transmissions. The laws will be binding on any organization that maintains personal information about residents of the two states. (Washington and Michigan are considering similar legislation.) Nevada's law deals mostly with transmitted information and Massachusetts's emphasizes stored information. Between them the two laws should put more of a dent into lax security practices than widespread laws requiring customer notification of data breaches have done. (Such laws are on the books in 40 states and by one estimate have reduced identity theft by 2%.) Here are a couple of legal takes on the impact of the new laws.

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